From New Year’s Eve the summer weather shifted into gear, with a change from the dull, overcast, drizzly conditions we had been experiencing up until then.

Apart from hives on small seed crops (e.g., radish, brassica), some of which surprisingly produced up to two boxes despite crops looking patchy earlier, the pasture clover crops really didn’t eventuate. I think ground temperature could have been too low.

All in all, this led to a disappointing season. The Mackenzie Country, however, produced some crops of clover honey, with hillsides snowy white in some areas.

The earlier rain has meant grain crop yields will be lower and quality will be reduced. Most crops have had a patchy start. Helicopters have had
to be used in spraying fungicides due to moist and warm conditions. It’s been a very trying season for farmers and beekeepers. I am coming across hives needing feeding, so it is a mixed bag of things requiring attention as of mid-February.

Also, during this period we’ve had a run of 30°C days making collecting honey crops very hot work, with a healthy dose of robbing thrown in for good measure.

We are working in a landscape of falling honey prices and limited selling opportunities, or at least harder to find. Beekeeping has been, and still is, a tricky game.

One concern l have is the discarding of surplus household honey. A lot must get thrown out without the consequences of this action ever being thought about. I hope at least it goes out with container lids on, but I suspect this doesn’t always happen. We need to take any opportunity to advise others who do not realise the flow-on implications of this practice. Many people out there are not aware of this, as I come across it quite often.

Good luck for the harvest.

- Noel Trezise